Puerto Rico’s longer-term problems
Regarding the Nov. 8 Economy & Business article “Programs that fed Tex., Fla. not deployed in Puerto Rico”:
Points about federal aid programs not deployed in Puerto Rico seem valid but incomplete. Puerto Rico’s economy grew more rapidly than those of the “Asian Tigers” after World War II, but things went systematically downhill beginning in 1970. Now, 85 percent of food is imported and nearly 100 percent of power is from fossil fuels — a failure to utilize abundant potential hydropower made possible by the island’s mountainous terrain or high wind power potential.
According to a review in the Economist, “a thicket of bad incentives,” including welfare policies and crippling restrictions on foreign trade, contributed to current problems. Focusing only on one side of policy issues can obscure balanced understanding.
Frank T. Manheim, Fairfax